Cambodia wrapup

We have what is called a ‘sea day’ today, except this is a river, not the sea.  Somehow, ‘river day’ doesn’t ring quite right.

Still, it’s an easy day–just eating, watching the world go by, eating, playing online bridge, eating, sorting photos, then dinner.  We stopped a couple of places to handle the formalities of leaving Cambodia and entering Vietnam, but somebody else takes care of the paperwork for us.

Since we didn’t see anything much new, I thought I’d just wrap up Cambodia tonight, with some photos that didn’t fit anywhere else.

Cambodia struck me as a wonderful country full of opportunity, set to explode on the world.  The hideous recent history has left them with an extraordinarily young, vigorous population.  They have little old, inefficient infrastructure to replace, so they can start right out with the modern stuff–as in their cell phone system, which is excellent.  A young person with even a modest amount of capital could come here and build a life and a fortune.

The current economy seems good–tourism is growing, with millions flocking to Angkor Wat every year.  The city has many luxury hotels, but no American chains–no Hyatt, Hilton, Sheraton, Ramada, Marriott.  No McDonalds, no Starbucks. The roads are full of cars, not just motorbikes–and not just tiny, cheap Chinese cars, but plenty of Lexus and Toyotas. This is in Phnom Penh:

Across from our dock in the capital city.

Notice the”Free wi-fi” sign.  Internet access has a low penetration here, but I saw a considerable number of places offering wi-fi, including the memorial at the killing fields yesterday.  This can’t all be for the benefit of the tourists, I have to assume that people are using the cafes for their internet access.

There is some older infrastructure–this is a power pole in the older, French Quarter of Phnom Penh:

This must be an electricians nightmare.


Here where the population is so you, I had a ball taking pictures of children.  This may be my favorite:

Richard Avedon might not have liked this, but I do.


Then across the street, I saw this little guy:


Cute, no?


Well, I thought he was cute until I saw his teeth–I think he chews betel nut, a mild stimulant common in south east Asial  Look closer:


This is not a pretty sight. The betel nut turns the teeth black.


We visited a couple of beautiful Buddhist temples, and were blessed by monks at one of them.


I guess I'm going to heaven now.


I enjoyed Cambodia, I was impressed by it, I have great expectations for the future here, and I recommend a trip here for anyone with a sense of adventure and a willingness to be open.  So I’ll wrap this up with a photo of the temple on the top of the hill which gives the city it’s name:


The baroque cathedrals of Europe have nothing on the temple in Phnom Penh


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